Press Releases

Alfred University Guzheng Ensemble invited to perform in Washington, D.C.

Alfred University | 9/06/19

A trio of students making up Alfred University’s Guzheng Ensemble will travel to the nation’s capital next weekend to perform during the 2019 Confucius Institute U.S. Center National Honors Gala.


ALFRED, NY – A trio of students making up Alfred University’s Guzheng Ensemble will travel to the nation’s capital next weekend to perform during the 2019 Confucius Institute U.S. Center National Honors Gala.

The Guzheng Ensemble, under the direction of Daisy Wu, visiting professor of music and director of the Confucius Institute at Alfred University, will perform Saturday, Sept. 14, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Members of the Ensemble are students David Fuller, Ty Heyden and Nellie Dennis.

Each year, the Confucius Institute U.S. Center celebrates the global education and cross-cultural exchange between the United States and China. The National Honors Gala will recognize the achievements and contributions of 10 outstanding Confucius Institute students from around the United States.

In a letter inviting the Alfred University group to perform, organizers told Wu, “We believe your exceptional music ensemble performance of the Chinese traditional instrument guzheng on the stage of Gala event will bring a special cultural flavor.”

Fuller, an accounting major from Groton, NY, and Dennis, a psychology major from Buffalo, are seniors; Heyden, a sophomore from Mount Shasta, CA, is an art and design major.

For Fuller, this will mark his second performance on the big stage in the last month. On Aug. 24 and 25, he participated in the 2019 New York Chinese Instruments International Competition in New York City. Competing against 30 Chinese musical instrument players from the U.S., Canada and China, Fuller took first place in the Young Adult Group for his performance on guzheng.

Alfred University is one of a very few colleges in the United States with a special curriculum in music education focused on Chinese musical instruments. In collaboration with the Confucius Institute at Alfred University, Alfred University’s Division of Performing Arts has since 2010 offered a credit-bearing course, “Music of Guzheng,” taught by Wu. In response to students’ enthusiasm for guzheng, the University founded the Guzheng Ensemble in 2011 with Wu as its Artistic Director. Since then, more than two hundred Alfred University students have learned to play guzheng, and about 100 students have joined the Guzheng Ensemble.

Alfred University is the first U.S. college to offer the opportunity for students to learn guzheng and perform in a guzheng ensemble for credit. Sponsored by the Confucius Institute at Alfred University, the Guzheng Ensemble has given many successful concerts, not only on campus, but also at other cultural exchange events in the U.S. and even in China, where the group made its international debut in 2014. Alfred University’s Guzheng Ensemble enjoys a great reputation. In 2014, the Ensemble participated in the Global Confucius Institute Chinese New Year Gala and won the third-place prize. In 2016 and 2019, the ensemble won Gold Medals at the New York Chinese Musical Instrument International Competition in New York City.

In photo above, Nellie Dennis (front, second from left) and Ty Heyden (second from right) perform as part of the Alfred University Guzheng Ensemble during the Spring Concert, held in May in Miller Theater.